Let’s Not Play the Blame Game!Posted on Tuesday, August 6th, 2013 at 10:00 AM
By Jesmine Onyeukwu
The world’s oldest and most played game is the BLAME GAME. Every second, countless people keep getting so immersed in this pastime, some have become addicted to it like a second nature. People so easily adopt the blame-it-on-anything attitude, constantly blaming other people and or situations for something in the wrong and ceaselessly pointing accusing fingers at anyone or anything but themselves. Typically, there is always a straight or skewed allocation of blame at the root of the worst problems people are regularly confronted with.
Recently after the launch of the Ebony life TV channel on DSTV, I had the pleasure of following an interesting programme on the channel titled Mo’s Search. The popular syndicated Nigerian TV show ‘Moments with Mo’ was expanding and needed a couple of new hosts to co-anchor the show with the main host. Mo’s search auditioned quite a number of contestants. During the later part of the boot camp stage, the ladies who made it were split into two teams of three each and assigned different tasks. After one of the task presentations to a panel of judges, they were further questioned about the processes and challenges of accomplishing their tasks. When one of the two teams was asked “who was the weakest link?” Bolanle, one of the team members quickly intervened by giving a response that could only explain shooting one’s self in the foot. She responded by explaining she was the weakest link and the rest of her team took turns at pointing fingers at her afterwards. She felt she could have given more to help her team produce better results, rather than think she gave better than anyone. WOW! I was so impressed, I could not contain my reactions and I just fell in love with Bolanle at that moment. I said to myself, here is a young woman who is not afraid of assuming responsibility to the extent of disapproving of herself irrespective of the situation (a stiff competition) and who is not soiled by the blame-it-on-anything-or-anyone kind of attitude. It was a great delight as I saw Bolanle make it to the finish-line of the competition and is now alongside Dolapo, a co-host with Mo Abudu on the TV show.
Premium solutions are mostly within not without. Internal factors are more influential than external factors. I think the problem is that people dread looking inwards for true answers, or worst still, they suppress the truth that springs from within because of less self belief. However, needless self-blame that could spell guilt and depression is totally dissimilar to accepting responsibility rather than shoving it away. The even bigger problem is that many societies foster the blame culture. Different units in the society have their own share of the finger-pointing attitude. The leaders are blaming the led, bosses are blaming their subordinates, teachers are blaming the students, parents are blaming their children and the reverse of these and more only make up for the never-ending cycle of the infamous blame game. Should we blame nature or nurture for our inherent and societal reliance on indictments?
Performing a root cause analysis and attempting to determine the appropriate source of predicaments with the purpose of improving effectiveness and/or efficiency in the future rather than inciting a series of finger-pointing for the sole purpose of shifting responsibility should be the appropriate attitude to situations.
I am not oblivious to certain truths one of which is that sometimes in an attempt to address real concerns there is a necessity for someone to be held absolutely accountable for the state of things placed in their conscientiousness.
Facts have it that since the history of the world no one has ever succeeded in this very destructive human pastime, it ends up being a vicious cycle of loses and not a single win. The blame game only manages to generate sore losers.
The effects of the game are very disgusting and devastating. It has been responsible for mass casualties of war, regrettable acts of rage, social, family and work-related crisis and an unimaginable amount of human frustration. People become scapegoats, projects become dangled, teams fall apart, people become disengaged and resentful and the situation that gave rise to the game even worsens.
Now the question is, why play the blame game when the occurrence of such damaging effects are apparent enough? Why are people so prone to blaming?
The reasons for blaming are usually centered on some irrational behaviours. Behaviours such as:
1. Extreme weakness: When a person constantly feels helpless about negative situations he tends to lose control of his mind and turns to a blaming anyone or anything. He would blame the weather for something as pardonable as waking up late.
2. Manipulation: Some persons just derive pleasure and make a duty out of controlling other people. The use of silent treatments, personal attacks and force are ways they use to coerce people into assuming responsibilities for wrongs they may or may not be a part of. The boss who makes a subordinate(s) pay for a bad situation he contributed to is being plain manipulative.
3. Avoidance: Persons with this behavior excuse it by telling themselves that it is better to avoid accepting responsibility for something negative than be messed up by it. They would rather walk away than even find out what went off beam because they don’t want to be bothered. But it soon catches up with them.
4. Negligence: This behavior demonstrates a lack of reasonable degree of care for a person or thing. The negligent person feels that it is okay for things not to be okay. They don’t pay attention to details, they don’t see any need applying any extra care in handling anyone or anything. When anything goes awry as a result of their attitude, people with this behavior will say “I thought it would work out right, it should have” rather than say “I will pay more attention next time”.
5. Unrealism: This behavior shows an unrealistic expectation for perfection. Never make a mistake! Persons with this behavior expect themselves and others never to go wrong. For them, making mistakes means being flawed and being flawed means being unworthy of respect. So when they fail, they never admit culpability. When others fail, they make them pay dearly for it.
The only winning move in the blame game is to stop that next move. Quit the game! Here is how:
1. Respect the blame worthy. Everyday-life is not a court and we are not the judge and jury. Let us allow people learn from their mistakes and correct them without unremittingly insisting they pay for those mistakes.
2. Accept your fallibility. Your fallibility is a route towards self-improvement. When you ever do wrong, don’t deny it, rather work towards making things better.
3. Rate your actions. You can negatively rate your actions as well as those of others, that is constructive criticism. However, you should not berate others or yourself. People are not terrible even when they do terrible things.
To ensure our transformation from sore losers to driven winners, we must at once quit playing the blame game.
Photo Credit: minglecity.com
Jesmine Chinwe Onyeukwu is a Productivity/Simplicity Coach, Speaker, Writer, Trainer and the CEO of JessylsCharm. JessylsCharm is Nigeria’s leading Professional Organising Company that provides space, paper and time management solutions to individuals and businesses. JessylsCharm is a member of NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers), USA.